The varying impact of buyer and supplier expected relationship-specific investments on relationship governance

Imran Khan, Meike Eilert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the differential influence of buyer and supplier relationship-specific investments (RSI) on a buyer’s relationship governance decisions. Design/methodology/approach: Based on transaction economics and social exchange theories (SET), the authors develop a framework to understand how and when buyer and supplier RSI influence governance decisions. This model was tested using a survey of 301 Information Technology (IT) procurement professionals across a multitude of industries. Findings: This research shows that buyer and supplier RSI impact governance decisions differently. Supplier investments are positively associated with relationship formalization when goals between both parties are shared. Buyer investments are more strongly related to formalization in technologically uncertain environments. Originality/value: This research adds to the literature by integrating arguments from both transaction cost and SET to hypothesize why buyer and supplier investments have a differential impact on relationship governance decisions. In line with these arguments, it ultimately demonstrates conditions that render such investments more/less influential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-916
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • B2B marketing
  • Business-to-business marketing
  • Governance
  • Purchasing
  • Supplier management
  • Supplier relations
  • Survey methods
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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